Pilates has been a literal lifeline for me in many situations I’ve navigated in life and the same was true when I became a mom.
My birthing story is unfortunately not what you would call “rosey”. I spent almost 48 hours laboring very hard to birth our 11.2 lb son. It is a long and arduous story of which I will spare you the details. I will however say that I ended up managing to birth our son vaginally. However, the pressure of his large heard making his way through my birth canal ended up rupturing my birth canal in several places meaning that I started to hemorrhage uncontrollably. Fortunately my OB-GYN was able to suture me on time to stop the bleeding. I managed to survive and so did our son. How did pilates help me through all of this?
A consistent pilates practice before becoming pregnant and then during pregnancy prepared my body to endure labor and birthing. I had a strong sense of awareness of what my body was capable of and I tapped into it during the experience. I also knew about the power of breathing and constantly leaned on it. After birthing I was incredibly weak from the loss of blood. It took two weeks for me to even be able to walk around our block, but thanks to my previous training, my body instantly recognized the path to recovery was in movement, no matter how seemingly basic at first.
And where to even start with the physical benefits of practicing pilates post-partum? The abdominal rehab work helps you reconnect your center. The upper body work helps you cope better with the stress and strain of feeding. The standing work helps strengthen your hips and glutes so that you can hold your baby. So many benefits!
I cannot speak of those first two years of my son’s existence without sharing my experience with post-partum depression and anxiety. As he was turning three months old, I was absolutely sure that something was profoundly wrong and out of balance in me. I reached out for help and fortunately found an excellent peri-natal mental health social worker who was absolutely key in helping me manage my condition. In addition to therapy and medication however, I always leaned on movement and especially the practice of pilates to help me find my balance and my center.
Pilates is a very grounding form of exercise that helps you focus on creating movement from the inside out. The type of concentration it requires helps you to feel in control of your movements. Pilates also has a sneaky way of helping you build strength. What I needed so desperately during those days was to feel strong and in control again. as I felt life was spinning out of control for me. Consistently experiencing that sense of strength and control in the studio helped me translate it into my daily life and into my mental health recovery.
Experiencing extreme trauma like I did while birthing can do incredible damage to your psyche but also emotionally. As is often explained, it is normal to experience the “baby blues” as your hormonal levels rebalance post-partum. However when this prolongs itself and develops into actual PPD, the emotional toll is huge. Feelings from extreme guilt to frustration to anger are part of the daily regimen. Pilates helped me better manage these emotions because I had a positive and constructive way of channeling them through movement. There is a power to the flow and precision of pilates that allows you to tap into a sense of internal organization. It helps clear the mind in the most positive of ways. Not by emptying it, but rather by helping to coordinate thought with movement. This translates into more effectively being able to cope with strong emotions daily.
If you are a mother in need of a movement routine that will benefit you at any stage of your journey, pilates is here for you. And if you are looking for guidance from an expert team, book a free consultation with us today. We would be honored to support you on life’s most incredible journey.